Comments

1
I can see Bertha swinging an axe into a keg of booze with gusto!
2
SPD leadership is glad to embrace the upside of reform: more budget! more process! more personnel! But the downside of reform, the part where you proactively identify and terminate the liars and the rights violators? Not so much...
3
Here's the thing about unionized employees that all the conservative dimwits (and apparently a majority of management/personnel people) don't understand: You can fire unionized employees! But you had better have done your homework, and be able to show why you fired that employee, because they can repeal their termination.

It's especially pertinent with position like cops, who can't go on strike, but the city still clings to this dear outdated ideal that doing so would cost votes. Back in Bertha's day, that was undoubtedly true, but how many cops live in Seattle these days?
4
The problem with this is that the police are an organized and powerful special interest group. Politicians are generally afraid of and/or beholden to them for political support.
Michael Greenberg spells this out in his "The NY Police VS The Mayor" in the New York Review of Books, (2/5/15). "There was the sense that, as police, they believed themselves to hold an unquantifiable power over elected officials. the idea seemed to be that there was a pact beween law enforcement and politicians. Cops did the dirty work, they waded in the muck, keeping the poor and violent in check and monitoring the human detritus that is the result of inequities they'd had no hand in creating. In return, politicians turned a blind eye to the excessive use of force." Greenberg describes de Blasio being chastened and checked in his reform efforts by the NYPD. Besides direct political opposition, I imagine that the police can use their investigative powers to monitor the private lives of politicians who they feel threatened by. Mayor Murphy and the City Council must have some realization that if they really did take steps to reform the SPD, they'd could be threatened as de Blasio was last winter.
5
Who'd have thought... the way Scott Walker wants to bust up teacher's unions and get rid of poor teachers is so similar to Ansel's vision on reforming the SPD.
6
You don't need to bust a union to get rid of bad cops, as Catalina explains above. You do need to have a police chief and a mayor who don't tolerate bad cops, and that's yet to be proven.
7
So in the past, the woman who led reform was run out of office by a bunch of corrupt ex-cops.
Today, we have a group of politicians that are putting in milquetoast reforms. Possibly because they want to stay in power? Because possibly there are still plenty of corrupt cops with access to a lot of money?
As Hal Holbrook famously said in All the President's Men, "Follow the money." There has always seemed to be a large but thoroughly unreported force (or forces) going on in Seattle's city politics. It would be interesting to run those down.
8
SPOG's main purpose is to keep bad cops on the street. Unfortunately they're doing a good job of it.
9
No, SPOG's main purpose is to represent the police rank and file. They're like an attorney or an agent - they aren't there to pass value judgements on what the members do, they exist to advocate on their behalf.

It's the City Government failure to enforce standards of conduct on the part of the police. You can't blame the union for that.
10
Time for anther female mayor? Perhaps Mayor Sawant would follow Bertha Landes' example and fire the current bastards?

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